CMU Speaker Series to bring #MeToo founder to campus Monday

Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement will speak in Plachta Auditorium

Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, speaks at the March to End Rape Culture/Slut Walk in Philadelphia in 2014.

Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, will be on campus Monday, Sept. 17 in Plachta Auditorium to speak at an open-dialogue event about sexual violence.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and Burke is set to take the stage at 7 p.m. The event is part of the Central Michigan University Speaker Series, which is open to students and community members.

Members of SAPA, or sexual aggression peer advocates, will be present during the event to provide support to individuals who may need further resources. 

Burke created the #MeToo movement in 2006 with a mission to help survivors of sexual violence, specifically women of color in low-income areas. 

The well-known hashtag exploded as a result of her work, and in six months, millions shared their stories regarding sexual violence.

Although the hashtag gained momentum fairly recently, Burke has dedicated over 25 years of her life to social justice. 

Burke hopes by creating a conversation about sexual violence, advocates will emerge in communities and interrupt the cycles of abuse.

The committee that organizes the speaker series consists of faculty members and students. Its goal is to bring in relevant speakers to discuss timely topics that open a larger conversation in the community, Director of University Events Misheaila Neil said.

The team worked for more than a year to bring Burke to campus.

Plachta Auditorium was chosen specifically by the committee because of the open atmosphere and soft lighting, Neil said. She said the venue will create a comfortable environment for discussing the sensitive topic. 

"The person facilitating (the event) has gone through that experience, and is crafting her words in a way that is welcoming and creating a safe space," Neil said. 

She said funds are allocated by both the president's office and provost's office with the intention to bring in speakers that will benefit everyone on campus.

The speech is free and open to the public.

An earlier version of this article said Burke was speaking on Wednesday, Sept. 12.  According to Neil, the dates and times for Burke's speech and Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen were accidentally swapped.  Nguyen will speak at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 in Plachta Auditorium.